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Staff in bid to run New Shoots facility - Carers’ plea to council: ‘Let us save our centre’

Published: 13 October 2011

CARERS of vulnerable adults with severe learning difficulties have told Camden Council they would rather run their own centre than have it shut down.

The group want to transform New Shoots, in Shoot Up Hill, West Hampstead, into Camden’s first “People’s Centre”.

New Shoots is one of four mental health ­centres threatened with closure under Town Hall plans to redevelop a site in Greenwood Place, Kentish Town.

A carer, who did not want to be named, said: “This new centre would be run by the parents and carers and vulnerable adults and would have a mix of professionals and volunteers to run the centre on a daily basis.

“They would also open the centre up to the community for out-of-hours activities.”

Renting space in the Shoot Up Hill building in the evenings would pay for the running of the centre. The parents and carers group believe the proposal fits with the government’s “big soci­ety” mantra and a new system of care funding called “personalisation”.

They said the scheme was “a viable alternative” to the proposed Greenwood place project.

There are 30-35 vulnerable adults with a range of learning disabilities attending Shoot-Up-Hill each day.

They are picked up from home in the morning and taken home in the evening.

Some of these vulnerable adults have been attending the centre for more than 20 years.

Camden Council also wants to shut down three other mental health day centres – Netherwood in West Hampstead, Raglan in Kentish Town and Highgate – and merge services on one site in Greenland Place, behind the Kentish Town Forum.

The proposals have faced fierce criticism from carers and last week Sir Torquil Norman joined the chorus of disapproval.

But council chiefs insist the project must go through to protect social care services in the future.

A Camden Council spokeswoman said: “We will take a full report of the findings of the consultation and recommendations to Cabinet to make a decision early next year.”


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